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Subramanian Veeraraghavan Kooveli Madom
Subramanian Veeraraghavan Kooveli Madom

Subramanian Veeraraghavan Kooveli Madom

Consultant and educationist

Garden City College


Subramanian Veeraraghavan Kooveli Madom is a member of:

Subramanian Veeraraghavan Kooveli Madom's Advice

Dare to be different

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Quality in management education - Holistic approach

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Qualities needed to become a successful leader

• Self confidence
• Look forward to and enjoy challenges; learn from failures
• Openness to learn, change, adapt
• Honesty
• Not Hippocratic
• Dare to differ
• Accept failures (setbacks) as fact of life and don’t accept them lying down
• When someone laughs at you laugh with them
• Have the competitive spirit of a sportsman and resoluteness of a general
• Be able to see (vision) what is not visible
• You can’t and cont have to correct everyone, correct yourself
• One should see the world in all its manifestations, to gain confidence, develop leadership and courage to face the consequences.
Important lesson learned
• Dare to be different
• If you have to challenge status quo do it here and now, as if there is no tomorrow
• No one needs sympathy, people need empathy
• Majority need not be right always
• There is no level playing field in the real world, if that were so, you would never find the rich and the poor as you find them today and you would have to rewrite books on core competency, SWOT, competitive advantages of nations and so on
• The clamor for level playing field is in fact seeking that differentiator by those who do it
• Enjoying good life that one has earned is no crime
• Integrity will ultimately pay
• One can enjoy in different ways, not necessarily through displayed consumerism
• Happiness is an inner state of the mind not a display of grand life
• There is no real charity, even charity displayed comes with a hidden price
Influenced by
Ordinary people with simple background but turned out to be extraordinary people – Bill gates, Obama, Narayana murthy, Dhirubai Ambani, Manmohan Singh, A K Antony

My family background
I had a trying childhood having lost my father when I was just seven years old, with four sisters the youngest one may be just one year old at that time. It was sheer courage and determination of a semi literate lady (my mother) that saw us through difficult formative years having to weather all kinds of storms:family, social economic and anything you can imagine. I think in retrospect the difficult years and bad experiences turned out to be a great learning.
Got admission in IIT in my first attempt with no coaching, but due to klackalck of guidance
Brief description about me
Had schooling in an ordinary government school in Kochi (couldn’t afford any boarding or high end school), awarded scholarship of Rs. 10/- month for proficiency in Sanskrit in 8th – 10th standards, passed out SSLC within the top two percentile at state level, awarded national merit scholarship, good in maths and science, used to help friends in solving problems, was groping in the dark as to what to do after schooling, except that I had an ambition to do engineering, learnt typing and shorthand, got offer in IIT for B.Tech in the first attempt with no coaching, but due to lack of guidance on choice of discipline didn’t realize value of what I had in hand and did not join the IIT! Tried IIT next year didn’t get through, and joined another premier REC for 5 year BE, continued with the scholarship that helped to meet my expenses and topped consistently with least effort. Engineering, I believe is the easiest subject to learn if you have the inclination and aptitude for it. Since I had plenty of free time as I had to spend minimum time on my studies compared to my friends who had to struggle, my sphere of activity widened participating in games such as tennis, and also not necessarily desirable activities at that age, to give expression to myself. Arrogance crept in me, failed in one subject first time in my life in 4th year, cancelled the entire semester as I didn’t want a red mark in my marks card, rewrote two semesters in one go and came out with distinction.
The transition from the socially secluded home (due to financial limitations) to hostel life was a turning point, that helped me see the world in a different light and rediscover myself in a different frame. I became a completely different person from what I was while at home (an introvert, shy, bookish, diffident).
There was very little campus placement in 1977. Got an offer in a private company on an engineering job; that demanded me to sign a bond to serve three years. The arrogance in me rejected the offer, as my aspiration now was MS in Engineering in the US and didn’t want to get caught in a bond.
The VISA didn’t come through though admission was through after the GRE (no coaching); back to square one. Changed four jobs in three years, fought with the CEO of the first employer who had all India operations, and whose father was a powerful MP, when I was a trainee drawing Rs. 400/- PM, again, against signing a bond, which was told to us (a group of five trainees) after joining. Post this incident, three of my colleagues were sacked from the company as they felt we were trouble makers and I was given a promotion to head a new unit in a new location, for quarreling, which is still baffling me. I don’t understand what works in the mind of organizational heads.
In the next job in MSEB as junior Engineer I was awarded for exceptional service for effectively handling a labor cum technical issue in the State Electricity Board and my boss was sacked for inefficiency, when I was less than one year old there, at 25 years of age. Resigned from MSEB as I felt that was not my place, cajoled and brainwashed to stay back by the Executive Engineer, stayed on, got out at the second attempt after a few months. Sent a successful lawyer notice to the MSEB for clearing my PF dues and issuing me experience certificate (I was still 25).
Managed another job after a few interviews, had to do with pay and use toilet and bath room in Mumbai, on visits to attend interviews, as I couldn’t afford even a low class hotel room.
The second transition came when I left my job in a GoI PSU in Delhi and joined IIMB for the PhD program at 28, despite caustic remarks from many quarters in family and outside, for having chucked a decent safe job in a GoI PSU, and with two sisters to be married.
Completed IIMB, joined an Indian MNC, fought with the no. 2 in the company for delaying my transfer as promised to a location of my choice, complained to the CEO, managed my transfer. My ex boss in the company didn’t forget / forgive me, tried his dirty tricks to fix me, didn’t work as I paid him back and called him bluff. He later became one of my best friends and supporters.
Stayed on for about 20 years in this Indian MNC, company transitioned from their core business, reluctant shift on my part and ultimately left after en-cashing my ESOP. Regret not leaving left earlier and missing opportunities, as by then I had a family I was responsible for, and life was comfortable with increasing benefits every time I attempted quitting.
Teamed up with my ex Prof at IIMB in his consulting outfit and start up PG level educational institution on Infrastructure Management with minimum capital, achieved 100% placement in year 1 and doubled admission in year 2, with 10% of ad expenses compared to year1. Got the first international assignment for the consulting outfit, got bored and left and became a wandering entrepreneur, figuring out what I am doing.
Learnt from my son accidently who was doing his engineering from the same institution where I did, about an opportunity for academic support to students world over through internet. Happy to say it worked well, got good reception among the international student community, realized the potential of work from home, and also consulting through internet.
Got another break as director of MBA program in a premier educational institution, from an accidental wrong number dialed from my mobile due to poor visibility, where I am still associated. The Group Chairman appreciated for having told him that, what he was doing is wrong in my first meeting with him, thanked me for being honest and forthright in sharing a not so pleasant message. Currently helping in quality improvement and using efficient approaches to managing the institute’s management programs.
While working in the MNC (a consulting firm) got close to the CEO of a government client. Since the MNC shifted its focus they were not interested in taking up an assignment similar to what we had done earlier. As I was the face of the MNC to the client, the client asked me if I can handle the job as they were looking for someone who knew the job. I submitted that I had no organization, am an individual and if he trusted me I can do it. He (the CEO) said he didn’t care, and asked me to give my offer. I put in my bid for the 10 day job, offered a benefit sharing plan. Though he appreciated the idea of risk sharing, he was not willing to sign such an agreement due to govt. rules and potential adverse observations. The job was offered to me on a fictitious company name I created for the purpose, competing with another large national level consultant. I completed the job in 10 days, the CEO couldn’t believe the pleasant outcome, personally congratulated me and got a special board resolution for a 100% bonus over the fee agreed.
My strongest skill
I shouldn’t be saying this, but I will share what I believe it is. Self confidence that may border on a don’t care attitude, that makes me feel a free man in my actions. I derive inner satisfaction and don’t crave for visibility and praise. If I deserve something I am sure it will come to me and it has. There is no end to learning and one has to be adaptable as time passes, as otherwise one becomes irrelevant over time. There is a lot one has to learn from others and give to others. Brutal honesty that may even border on being seen as rude. True color will always come out after the rain so don’t paint yourself that will anyway be washed and wear off.
Couple of years from now
I am still discovering, I will take whatever path I am able to see
My achievements
My getting an IIT offer with no coaching, no support, my getting selected for officer cadre in Armed forces after Engineering which I didn’t take up ultimately, my IIM stint, being entrepreneurial now when every sane person would think of retiring (I don’t know what it means), my being able to speak my mind or stepping on the wrong foot and getting away with it consistently, my being able to get things done in ways others consider to be a cranky / will not work / not consider as an option at all, staying within the organization despite being seen as adversarial, as my ways don’t fall in line with that of the crowd. Despite all negatives, still being considered as someone who cannot be ignored by detractors, as told to me by one of my consulting clients. My consistent belief we have not even scratched the surface, there is enough for everyone and I don’t have to take from someone’s plate, if only I am able to see what is in front of me. Our problem is we are many times blind to what is in front of us and try to steal from someone as we fear we may not get what are after. We need to keep our mind open to learn every day.
Initiative to develop a country
• Develop right attitudes, values and practices
• Demonstrate honesty and professional integrity in whatever they do, no lip service
• Cultivate openness to continuous learning
• Shed hypocrisy
• Develop and nurture a quality culture
• Be bold to state facts, hold your ground even at a price
• Don’t look for short term gains, it doesn’t stay
• Satisfy yourself before your try to satisfy others
• Don’t wait for an inspector to right the wrong
• Set high standards in all that you are involved
• Believe you can and you will, you will
• There are no failures in life only setbacks that are transient in nature, so never lose balance when you don’t realize what you are after
• Every dog has its day, wait for yours and believe others too will have their day
• Humility will pay
• The day you find yourself comfortable on a job, it is time you start introspecting if something is wrong and it is time you moved on. The feeling of comfort is a slow poison, it is a stumbling block to progress as there is nothing you see challenging. This means you are underutilized and need to find a new space where you can exploit your potential
Degree that I recommend
I have disbelief on certificates as you see them sold for a price, I only believe what the certificates are expected to represent, but never do. The substance behind the certificate is what matters not the form
Ensuring success
• Continuous learning, be ready to unlearn and relearn
• Have an open mind and enjoy life
• Keep physically and emotionally fit
• Build and maintain professional and social network
• Believe in myself, a can do and will do attitude
• Dare to fail, learn from failures
• Be simple, humble, young in mind, learn from youngsters
• Failures make you wiser, success only blinds you
• Look forward to the best and be ready for the worst
• Believe that there is no one right way, there can be many
• You can be different, be right in your own way and you can make a difference
• Everyone is looking for someone to bell the cat, why can’t I be that someone
• Opportunities exist, if you have an open eye, ear and most important mind to grab it
• Be adaptable that doesn’t mean lack of direction
• Believe you have lot to give and also take from others
• Human beings are basically good, circumstances make them what they are
• If I challenge someone, I should be prepared to get injured
• Life can begin at sixty if you want it that way, in fact you have all freedom and no fear at that age as one would have crossed most hurdles
Important decision
Education and Career: chucking jobs whenever I thought it is enough, quitting jobs for education, getting married when I had no job and no income, investing in real estate when others started looking up and took me to be a fool but turned out to be otherwise, challenging bosses more than once,… Some say I am arrogant and rude, I say I am assertive and I will
My role model
NRN for his rise from humble beginnings, simplicity, thrift, resoluteness, honesty, integrity and strong belief of I can and I will, for his daring to be different when others were doubting or diffident to state their position, for his innovative mind, admitting mistakes, vision and seeing it through, not allowing his children to make an entry into his kingdom banking on his position, for daring to challenge status quo by employing rural youth for urban jobs,……

Ambani for his rise from nothing, his vision (no MBA) the belief that you can be different and proving it despite his poor formal education, his ability to fight the system and his detractors, proving the world wrong

Bill Gates for rising from a garage to build what Microsoft is now, his apparent simplicity

Obama – to dare to fight for US presidency despite his Muslim connections in the aftermath of the 9/11 bombing, his unparalleled oratory skills and returning to office

Man Mohan Singh and AK Antony for their personal integrity and honesty lacking in Indian politics and surrounded by the dishonest and surviving for the second term
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